Cheap, Clean And Reliable Electricity Generation

When we talk about the need for cheap, clean and reliable electricity supply, we are referring to a few key attributes of an ideal power generation source such as:
It’s Got To Be Cheap Over The Long Term.
• Reasonably low costs associated with building and operating the power plants for 20 years plus.
• Must involve using inexpensive fuel sources.
• Must be able to provide constant electricity at an affordable price for consumers and businesses alike.
It’s Got To Be Clean.
• A way of generating electricity with little or no emissions of air pollutants like particulates, sulphur oxides, nitrogen oxides.
• Generating Electricity with very low or zero greenhouse gas emissions like carbon dioxide.
• Minimal environmental impact from fuel extraction, waste products and the ability to recycle waste products etc.
It’s Got To Be Reliable & Available 24/7.
• Power plant options that can run consistently at maximum output 24/7.
• Methods of generating electricity that are not dependent on intermittent sources like wind or sunshine.
• Power Plants that provide steady “baseload” supply to meet the minimum continuous electricity demand.
It’s Got To Be Able To Meet Baseload & Peak Requirements.
Baseload Power refers to:
• The minimum level of demand on an electrical grid over a span of time.
• Baseload refers to the basic unchanging electricity requirements to keep things running
Peak electricity demand refers to:
• The highest point of electricity consumption or demand on the power grid over a given period of time.
• The maximum load or highest level of electricity being drawn from the grid at a particular moment.
• Peak demand is typically much higher than the baseload demand, which is the minimum continuous electricity requirement.
• Peak demand periods usually occur in the morning when people wake up and in the evening when they return home from work/school and increase electricity usage.
• Peak demand also varies by season, it’s generally higher in summer (due to air conditioning loads) and winter (due to heating loads) compared to spring and autumn.
• Utilities and grid operators have to ensure enough generation capacity to meet these peak demand periods reliably without overloading the system.
• Peak shaving and demand response programs aim to reduce these peaks by incentivising reduced consumption during peak hours.
• Peak demands drive sizing requirements for power plants, transmission lines, substations etc. as the grid must have enough capacity for the highest loads.
• Failing to meet peak demand can lead to overloads, blackouts or deliberate rolling outages by utilities.
So in essence, we’ll need power generation that checks all the boxes:
1. Economical for consumers.
2. Environmentally friendly.
3. Constantly available baseload capacity
4. Can meet the highest point of stress on the electricity grid when consumption soars.
The Power Generation Options you engage should be able to check all of the boxes without compromising on any of those factors.
It’s a very challenging goal as most generation methods tend to trade off one benefit for another downside.
We need to be able to properly forecast demand and then meet it without failure.
We need to be able to manage our grids without too much concern and always have adequate reserve capacity for peaks periods, this is crucial for reliable grid operations and keeping the lights on 24/7.

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